•Christian Dior inflicts on mankind "the flat look." It is deplored on two continents.
BASEBALL NOTES. The Red Sox lose both Mel Parnell, with a broken pitching arm, and Ted Williams, with a fractured collarbone, before the season is a full month old. Williams makes it back for a May doubleheader with the Tigers and goes 8 for 9, with a double and two homers.
•In a May 2 doubleheader against the Giants, Stan (the Man) Musial hits five home runs, a twin-bill record. And on July 31, the Braves' Joe Adcock hits four homers off four Dodger pitchers to become only the fifth player in major league history to hit four in a nine-inning game.
•The Orioles play their first season in Baltimore after moving from St. Louis, where they had been the Browns; the Braves play their second season in Milwaukee after moving in '53 from Boston. Then, after the season, industrialist Arnold Johnson buys the Athletics from Connie Mack's family in Philadelphia for $3.5 million and announces that he will move the team to Kansas City.
WILLIE. The Cleveland Indians were heavy favorites over the New York Giants in the World Series. The Indians won 111 games in '54 and had baseball's most imposing starting rotation in Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, Mike Garcia, Bob Feller and Art Houtteman. In the bullpen, manager Al Lopez had rookie sensations Ray Narleski and Don Mossi. Bobby Avila won the batting championship (.341), and Larry Doby led the league with 32 homers and 126 RBIs. Al Rosen (24 homers) and early-season acquisition Vic Wertz (15 homers) gave the Indians added sock.
The Giants had benefited from a preseason trade of pure genius. They sent 1951 hero Bobby Thomson to the Braves for a 23-year-old lefthander, Johnny Antonelli, who had been no better than 12-12 in '53. But Thomson broke his ankle in spring training and played in only 43 games all season. Antonelli won 21 for the Giants and led the league with a 2.30 ERA. Willie Mays led the National League in hitting with a .345 average and belted 41 homers. But it was Mays's glove that would do the Indians in—Mays's glove and pinch-hitter Dusty Rhodes's bat.
The first game was enough to demoralize the Indians. In the eighth inning, with two men on and the score 2-2, Wertz hit a mighty drive to dead centerfield in the cavernous old Polo Grounds off Giants lefty Don Liddle. Mays gave what appeared at first to be futile chase, running, it seemed, forever as the ball headed for deep center. But he reached up and caught it with his back to the infield, some 460 feet from home plate.
The Indians did not score, and in the 10th inning, Rhodes hit a ball about 200 feet shorter than Wertz's but down the short Polo Grounds foul line in right for a three-run homer that won the game. A ball that would have been a homer in any other ballpark was caught by a miracle man, and a ball that would have been caught in any other ballpark became the game-winning homer. The Indians never recovered and lost in four straight.
Mays's catch is now part of baseball legend. For me, your tour guide through 1954, it had a significance well beyond that.
MR. WONDERMENT. Willie caught that ball on Sept. 29, the very day I was released from the U.S. Army after two years of service as a reluctant draftee. I had fought the Korean War from behind a typewriter in West Germany, and now I was a free man at last. In short order, I got a job and found an apartment on San Francisco's Telegraph Hill. The job, as a public relations man for the Southern Pacific Company railroad, was not exactly what I had in mind, and I would soon leave it for newspaper work, but at the time, it didn't matter. The important thing was that I was out there on my own. And at 23, oh, how I thrived on it.